Isn’t it AMAZING how koi and goldfish go into “dormancy” and not eat for months on end? Then, in spring, once water temperatures warm up, they come back to life. This mesmerizes most folks, including me! Koi and goldfish, and the varieties within each species, are cold blooded meaning that their body temperature is the same temperature as the water. BURRRRRRRR! Can you imagine a body temperature of 35 degrees?
If your fish are alive thus far, you deserve an “atta- boy” and/or “atta-girl”! Using any combination of a de-icer, air pump or aeration kit, and possibly keeping the pump running is a smart idea and obviously paid dividends. What now?
Spring time is a unique time for all pond fish. Over the past 15 years, I’ve had customers that do very little to help the fish succeed and I have had customers who have have problems every winter with fish loss and disease. The best action is the action with the least or greatest impact, depending on the situation, and visual inspection of the fish and a simple water test will tell you whether to go left or right.
Testing the water is the single most important step in preventing fish disease and algae problems. Most fish illnesses are a direct result of bad environmental conditions. Detecting bad environmental conditions early is like catching a human disease early in that the illness can be prevented by correcting the environmental problem. Using a quality test strip like Microbe Lift 5 in 1 Test Strips or a quality master test kit prevents costly fish illness and therefore eliminates costly medications. If you’re unsure of reading the tests and taking proper action, consult a top notch water garden center like PondMarket. Most water garden centers offer free water testing services.
Another excellent spring time habit is to add pond salt. Pond salt adds essential electrolytes into the water enhancing the slime coat of fish. The slime coat of a koi and goldfish is the equivalent of our immune system. Once the slime coat breaks down, or there is less slime coat production, koi and goldfish become susceptible to parasites, fungal infections, and other diseases. The rule of thumb when adding pond salt is 5-10lbs per thousand gallons of pond water. If you’ve added pond salt in the past, have your pond salt levels tested before additional treatments.
It’s a common misconception that it’s necessary to medicate koi and goldfish every spring. Using antibiotics and other medications like potassium permanganate in spring can be harmful and bring about diminishing returns. If your fish look a little under the weather, use a natural or herbal remedy like Microbe Lift Parazoryne or Microbe Lift Sabbactisun. These remedies are herbal, effective, cost effective, and will knock out any potential problems. These types of products can be used as a preventative measure without bringing on immunity to medications and antibiotics.
Water changes are an essential part of opening the pond for spring. During summer months, ponds are topped off weekly due to evaporation. In spring, with cooler temperatures, it’s not a common practice to top off the pond or add water unless performing a water change. Water changes replace and refresh essential minerals koi and goldfish need for color, an effective immune system, and growth. Water conditioner is an essential component of a water change as tap water contains metals like chlorine, chloramine, copper, zinc, tin, and other trace metals that are toxic to koi and goldfish. I’ve had countless customers have a random fish loss, typically in hot summer months, when a pump fails. It’s not because the pump failed, it’s because the gill function of the fish is ineffective due to water changes and the addition of tap water without using a quality water conditioner. Koi TLC is an all natural water conditioner made from plant material that neutralizes all metals within tap water. Sometimes, if we add water on a regular basins, PondMarket Super Concentrated Tap Water Conditioner is the pond water conditioner of choice because it treats a lot of water for the money.
Testing pond water, using the proper medications, and a high quality water con-ditioner will ensure the fruits of labor during winter months produce dividends in spring months as well as ensure koi and goldfish make it through the summer. After all, we all name our fish…admit it! How uncool would it be if they made it through the hard winter months only to die in the summer?
Cheers to spring,
Aaron @ PondMarket